MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - Researchers from the Molecular Biology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a unique microchip for rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis. Their diagnostic method provides for the use of a biological microchip and a meter on the basis of a fluorescent microscope, reports the newspaper Poisk of the Russian scientific community. Now, doctors get the information in a matter of 24 hours.

The biochip is a glass plate with special probes located in tiny gel drops (cells). The probes are the know-how of the rapid-test method. The size of each cell is 200 microns, which is comparable to hairbreadth. Probes in them can be nucleic acids, proteins, various live cells, DNA parts. Each cell is similar to a test tube for routine tests. Hundreds and thousands of them are contained in a biochip.

Rapid tests are more reliable than routine: the specimen is studied at the genetic level. They permit rapid establishment of what antibiotics are required for the treatment of a case. As is known, the TB agent develops immunity against antibiotics and, therefore, precise choice of a drug is required.

The method has been patented in Russia and abroad. It has passed clinical tests in the Central Tuberculosis Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and the Research-Practical Anti-Tuberculosis Centre, based in Moscow, as well as the State Research Centre Vektor, based in Novosibirsk. A quick test costs only 10 dollars.

Another advantage is that the method is multipurpose: biochips are fit for the study of AIDS, smallpox, hepatitis and other grave ailments.

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